Pregnant smokers may be offered vouchers to stop

NHS trust considering gift vouchers to stop smoking in pregnant women

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An NHS trust is considering handing gift vouchers to pregnant woman to encourage them to stop smoking.

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Telford and Wrekin Primary Care Trust said women would be tested to make sure they really had given up.

Dr Kevin Lewis, from the trust, said studies had shown people needed motivation to help them quit their cigarette addiction.

He said simply highlighting the dangers of smoking in pregnancy was not always enough to make people give up.

Dr Lewis said: “One of these motivators can be in the form of rewards. It might be something like a £5 gift voucher – and they receive these if they maintain quitting from smoking and that would be tested to make sure that they have.”

He said tests included carbon monoxide monitoring, such as a breath test which showed if someone had recently smoked. Urine and saliva tests were also among those carried out.

“You would think wouldn’t you, that after all the knowledge there is out there now about the health risks from smoking – and not only to yourself but also to the unborn child in the case of pregnant women – that that would be enough to motivate people.

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“But we are dealing here with an addiction and we are dealing here with human behaviour and we just know from the studies that people are often not as motivated by the benefits to future health as they are by the here and now.”

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